NATIONAL

Pandya case: defence plea on photograph

Manas Dasgupta

Refuses to presume window opening was "of the size of a palm"

AHMEDABAD: Defence counsel in the Haren Pandya murder case has requested the special POTA court to send the photographs, showing the car in which the body of slain former Gujarat Minister of State for Home was found, for examination by some reputed scientific institution.

An application submitted before the court of Sonia Gokani, counsel for the accused Nitya Ramakrishnan said the photograph showing the exact opening of one window of the car, was very crucial to conclude the nature of attempt made to assassinate Mr. Pandya on March 26, 2003. She also expressed surprise at the prosecution opposing the scientific examination of the photograph at this stage and preferring to go ahead with the case on the "presumption" that the opening of the window was "of the size of palm of a common man."

Ms. Gokani is expected to deliver her ruling on the application and the objections raised by the prosecution on Saturday while the next hearing of the case has been fixed for March 8.

Ms. Ramakrishnan had been arguing on the theory that Mr. Pandya was neither killed inside the car nor was he shot dead at the Law Garden in Ahmedabad, where his body was found in the car by the police, hours after he died.

Defence witnesses who included Narayana Reddy, the former head of the Department of Forensic Medicine at the Osmania University, Hyderabad, had told the court that the opening of the car window, as shown in the photograph produced by the prosecution, was not big enough for the assailant to take the revolver inside the car and fire at the victim.

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